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Whelan Resolution To Urge School Districts To Be Prepared For Cardiac Arrest Approved

Measure Would Encourage Local School Districts to Develop Emergency Response Plan, Provide Training to Students and Staff

TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan which would urge local boards of education to improve their preparedness in the event that a student or staff member suffers a heart attack on school grounds was approved today by the Senate.

“The best thing we can do to improve the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest is to be prepared,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic, and a teacher in Atlantic City public schools. “This bill would direct our school districts in New Jersey to develop guidelines and plans that would ensure a speedy response should someone – student or staff member – have a heart attack.”

The bill, SR-75, would urge local boards of education to improve staff and student preparedness for responding to incidents of sudden cardiac arrest. Under the resolution, every board of education in the State would be urged to take precautionary measures to protect students and staff from sudden cardiac death. School districts would be urged specifically to install an automated external defibrillator at each of its schools, to provide training to staff on the appropriate use of these devices, as well as training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for all staff and students, to develop an emergency action response plan for each school that addresses the appropriate staff response to cardiac arrests and similar health crises which may occur on school grounds.

According to figures compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of the death in this country, with more than 600,000 Americans dying each year. Just 8 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survive, according to data from the American Heart Association.

“When victims of cardiac arrest receive immediate CPR and early defibrillation from an automated defibrillator, their chances of survival can be more than doubled,” said Senator Whelan. “Most schools already have a response place in place to address cardiac arrest victims, but this bill would encourage them to continue revisiting those plans and incorporate best practices to maximize the survival rate for heart attack victims.”

The bill is now filed with the Secretary of the State, and a copies will be transmitted to the State Board of Education, to disseminate to each local school district in the State of New Jersey. An identical resolution was approved by the Assembly in June.

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